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As noted from Barger and Kirby (1997), leadership reports intend to help in explores and expands of understanding of the guiding principles or practices leaders exhibit that result in a successful school or district improvement processes. It is also worth noting that leadership report focuses on instruments that tap the key aspects of personality and behavior in areas of communication, solving problems, decision-making and interpersonal relations (Barger and Kirby, 1997). These instruments are distinct, and they provide a view of leadership personality through different dimensions (Barger and Kirby, 1997). In this context, the focus is on Stroman Middle School under the leadership of the principal Lisa Cortez and her assistants Mr. Drew Peterson and Yolanda Torres.
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The principal Lisa Cortez and her assistants Mr. Drew Peterson and Yolanda Torres, have set guiding principles in Stroman Middle School, based on district aims. One of the guiding principles is high student performance and achievement. This primary objective is to provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum that ensures quality delivery of the instructions for all students and maximizes learning (Quenk, 2000). Some of the key processes in this guideline include; recognizing and rewarding high student’s achievement through incentive programs, conducting of scheduled department meetings that are conducive to creating interdependent teams, designing interactive and stimulating instructional activities (Quenk, 2002). The team comprises of; head of department, learning facilitators and administrators.
Safe, secure and nurturing learning environment is another guiding principle. It focuses on providing equitable, consistent and effective discipline, as well as providing a safe environment (Quenk, 2002). The key processes involved include, implementing of a proactive and consistent discipline plan, monitoring attendance and utilizing advisory period to teach students school procedures and expectations. The main stakeholder includes; administration, teachers, safe and civil schools team and security guards.
Practicing leadership by optimizing educational resources is a key guideline that leads to successful school or district improvement processes. The key processes involved include; providing training for new teachers on how to use Eduphoria to analyze data, allocating funds to secure additional instructional resources and collaborate and share the best practices in interdependent teams (Schnell, 2000). The leadership in this case interacts with technology committee, teachers, administrators, district technology facilitator and academic learning facilitators.
Responsive to student’s needs is also a leadership practices that demonstrate the result in successful schools processes (Isachsen and Berens, 1995). The objectives of responsive to student’s needs are to provide processes that promote and ensure the student input that addresses campus and district concerns and to create opportunities and sustain engagement of all students through extra- curricular and co-curricular activities. This process involves teachers, students, administrators, parents, counselors and communities in schools.
Highly qualified and effective personnel attract, recruit and employ highly qualified, diverse personnel; whereby, 100% of teaching staffs highly qualified, providing new teachers with a mentor and establishing of open communication between teachers and administrators are main key processes.
Open effective communication creates an environment that seeks and respects input from all. It is achieved through maintaining the school website, teachers’ websites, and training of parents on how to access school website, as well as conducting monthly faculty, department, committee and grade level meetings. The stakeholders involved include; teachers, administration, department heads, parents, nurses, school success facilitators and communities in school (Isachsen and Berens, 1995). Finally, it is the involvement of all parents, students and communities. This creates a culture that engages parents, students, staff and community in educational partnerships to meet student’s needs.
The selection of principals is on the interpersonal relationships, in teams and organizational cultural aspect. They understand that each person has both strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to accept themselves and maximize their strengths against any challenges. Moreover, they allow wide divergence in people’s views, attitudes, values and behaviors. This helps one to understand the environment and appreciate other peoples’ views and learn from them, and identify the opportunities and challenges, as well as knowing how to execute strategy. It is with these facts that they are able to implement some of the goals highlighted in the guidelines. These include opening of effective communication and responsive to student’s needs.
They have different operating styles, which help to bring diverse strengths and talents together in the district improvement processes, as well as approaches which match people’s differing needs and the situation. In case of Stroman Middle School, the focus is on the action to be carried out by leadership to get things moving. Therefore, the contribution of principals in the aspect of being resourceful, determined, practical and how they handle unexpected in the school can be evaluated from the guiding principles. Nevertheless, they were selected on the way of making a decision of leadership in Stroman Middle School and their character in turn of taking risks.
In their leadership they have ensured the use of the school resources to support and encourage others within the school, ensured that others feel part of the organization; hence, maximum achievement of goals and objectivities. They should minimize conflicts by finding the best means of solution and use dialogue to remove obstacles.
Another guiding principle is that of team building, which helps to create cohesiveness (Barger and Kirby, 1997). The two principals should also be willing to get directly involved in the crisis, in order to encourage others and demonstrate on how to work as a team. Their ability to influence organizational culture also contributed to their selection.
Data Results From the Previous Year
2011-2012 Results Based on TAKS Equivalent Standard
Reading:All Students 74.47%, Eco-Dis 72.33%, African American 66.67%, Hispanic 74.79%, SPED 39.29%
Math:All Students 60.02%, Eco-Dis 57.35%, African American 46.15%, Hispanic 59.83%, SPED 25%
Improve Student Attendance
Attendance: 2010-2011: 94% 2011-2012: 94%
Employ full time Student Success Facilitator
Conduct home visits and file Statutory Warnings
Conduct parent/teacher conferences
How do you ensure the high student performance and achievement at school?
Are there optimum educational resources at school?
Is the issue of responsiveness to student’s needs well-covered?
What are the main Challenges that you face in the implementation process as a leader?
How far do you see achieving the objectives and goals set?
How do you work in a team?
How do interaction affects your leadership?
What is your influence on organizational culture?
The above interview question helps in evaluation of the guiding principles that leaders exhibit and that result in successful school improvement processes. The paper has focused on the improvement expected and then, addressed the qualities of leadership needed. Therefore, this has helped in demonstrating how the principal Lisa Cortez and her assistants Mr. Drew Peterson and Yolanda Torres were selected. They were on interpersonal relationships, in teams and organizational cultural aspect.
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